Today, while standing in a bank queue, my friend told me that “if there’s a theft in the bank lockers, the bank holds no responsibility of your valuable items and you can’t claim a single penny”.
I was utterly shocked! So Googled it and came to know that the fact is actually true and I was totally unaware about it.
According to Section 152 of the Indian Contract Act, a bank is not responsible for any loss or damage to the contents of a locker.
“The relationship between the bank and the locker customer is that of a lessor and a lessee,” says Narayan Raja, CEO, Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI).
This shows that bank lockers may not be as secure as we actually think they are, because if the contents of your locker are stolen, you may not be eligible for compensation.
The silver lining for customers is that if they are able to prove that the loss or damage has occurred due to the negligence by the bank, they can claim compensation.
“If the negligence by the bank is proved, or a bank employee is found to be involved (in the theft), it becomes a vicarious liability and the bank is liable to pay compensation,” says Mumbai-based advocate V T Gokhale.
However, the compensation may not cover the full loss. Affected customers can also approach consumer courts. In several cases, where negligence on the part of bank has been proved, courts have come to the rescue of customers.
So decide very carefuly where you want your valuables.